Reviews & features: Comedy

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Tom Wrigglesworth: Utterly at Odds With the Universe

16 Aug 20133 stars

Down-to-earth humour based on comic's relationship with his granddad

Funny-sad shows about earthy but inspirational old relatives have been something of a vogue these past few years at the festival, so while you can hardly fault a man for wanting to tell what seems to be a genuine (if…

Yannis Pappas

16 Aug 20133 stars

New Yorker with a well-honed set that deserves to be seen

Due to an administrative error with his Fringe booking, audiences are struggling to find Yannis Pappas, with a confusion of times throwing people off the scent. In fact, tonight's gathering is so small that when a fly starts bothering him on stage he…

Gráinne Maguire's One Hour All Night Election Special

16 Aug 20133 stars

Retrospection of past failures and general election obsession

It’s difficult not to allow yourself to be dragged along on the wave of Gráinne Maguire’s infectious enthusiasm for her subject. But given the slight dearth of laughs in this hour, it could well be that she hasn’t quite trawled deep enough into the…

BEASTS

16 Aug 20133 stars

Quickfire visual gags hit the mark despite bridled material

In a year in which some young bucks have ripped up the sketch show format to blistering effect (The Pin, Thünderbards), there lingers a slight feeling that the likes of BEASTS might be getting slowly left behind. After a solid enough debut last year…

Milo McCabe: Schiz

16 Aug 20134 stars

A wonderful conceit for a character comedy show

This a wonderful conceit for a character comedy show. On a screen on stage Milo McCabe sits in ethereally white room talking to the characters in his head. They're a disparate bunch, camp actor Troy Hawke, the Glaswegian trainspotter who thinks he's…

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Pete Cain: Everybody Out!

16 Aug 20133 stars

Comedian raises important political points and offers a solution to Britain's overpopulation

In this day and age where everyone has their own opinions on the current state of overpopulated Britain, who should stay, who should go (can’t we all just get along?) Pete Cain may have just come up with the perfect solution, everybody out! Apparently…

Rhys Mathewson - The Best £10 You'll Ever Spend

16 Aug 20133 stars

Value for money applied to comedy by the New Zealander comic

Hailing from New Zealand and looking like a cross between the country's two national species (sheep and hobbits), stand-up Rhys Mathewson is very concerned about money, or the lack of it. In a conglomeration of titbits about his life, loves, homeland…

Marlon Davis: Crackin' Up

16 Aug 20133 stars

Likeable and charismatic, this comedian is difficult to resist

Being nice can get you far in life and Marlon Davis' charm is his greatest asset. After a few anecdotes in which he establishes himself as a nice guy, a bit of a try-hard, an inoffensive fellow, he starts in with a few standard gripes about his…

Pete Firman - Scoundrel

16 Aug 20134 stars

One of the reliable Fringe solids by the humourous magician

Pete Firman’s comedy-magic cocktail is one of those reliable Fringe solids. There’s a reason his face keeps popping up all over the telly as well (Derren Brown’s 3D Magic Spectacular, The Magicians) – he is amiable, good humoured and a joy to…

Tanyalee Davis – Big Trouble in Little 'Gina

16 Aug 20133 stars

Turning gynaecological misadventures into an enjoyable hour of positivity

The Canadian comic offers up a frank discussion of her downstairs lady area and the medical problems it has created for her over the last year. Her gynaecological misadventures took her to three continents and Davis takes us right along with her…

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Neil Hickey: Escape Artist

16 Aug 20132 stars

Irish newcomer's nerves undermine his bags of obvious potential

Clearly running on an abundance of nerves, Irish debutante Neil Hickey initially looks like he’d love to play the title role of his show (Escape Artist) and bolt from this small venue. A pre-entrance visual gag hasn’t gone down as well as he thought it…

Fringe comedy debut: Rhys Mathewson

15 Aug 2013

The comedian performs debut solo show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013

What do you think might work out as the best piece of advice you receive ahead of your Fringe debut? A few people have told me that everyone has a breakdown at some point. And it's nice to know going in that at some point I'm going to be crying in a…

Fringe comedy debut: Amy Hoggart

15 Aug 2013

The comedian performs debut solo show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013

What do think might work out as the best piece of advice you receive ahead of your Fringe debut? ‘You’ve got to cut the bit from the show where you cover your face in conditioner and get loads in your eyes.’ What do you expect will be the least…

Fringe comedy debut: Darts Wives

15 Aug 2013

Comedians perform for the first time at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013

What do you think might work out as the best piece of advice you receive ahead of your Fringe debut? It's a bubble, don't read reviews. What do you expect will be the least useful piece of advice? Try to get some early nights. Imagine this is…

Fringe comedy debut: Red Bastard

14 Aug 2013

The comedian appears for the first time at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013

What do you think might work out as the best piece of advice you receive ahead of your Fringe debut? I was advised to attend the Fringe before I brought my show here. That was gold. It was very important to gain a sense of the scope of the festival and…

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Fringe comedy debut: Nathaniel Metcalfe

14 Aug 2013

The comedian performs debut solo show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013

What do you think might work out as the best piece of advice you receive ahead of your Fringe debut? Play every show like you're enjoying every minute of it. What do you expect will be the least useful piece of advice? Play every show like you're…

Fringe comedy debut: Romesh Ranganathan

14 Aug 2013

The comedian appears for the first time at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013

What do you think might work out as the best piece of advice you receive ahead of your Fringe debut? ‘Phone your wife every day while you are away because she is probably thinking about leaving you.’ What do you expect will be the least useful piece…

John Lloyd: Liff of QI

14 Aug 20134 stars

Expert raconteur wields his massive brain

The veteran writer, director, performer, producer and founder of classic television comedy including Not the Nine O’Clock News, Blackadder, Spitting Image and QI looks back over the highlights of his extremely impressive career. Alongside Douglas Adams…

Twonkey’s Blue Cadabra

14 Aug 20133 stars

More bizarre absurdity in Twonkey's latest journey to some very strange places

You have to be fully committed when you sign up for a Twonkey show. Through his frequent flights of bizarre absurdity, the man only occasionally known as Paul Vickers (of The Leg and John Peel favourites Dawn of the Replicants) will take you on a…

Maydays: Confessions

14 Aug 20132 stars

Improv makes its way into musical comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe

The once-derided musical comedy has been given a credible spin over the last few years thanks to the likes of Hans Teeuwen, Tim Minchin, Bo Burnham. This has resulted in improv finally reaching the bottom of the pile when it comes to the comedy genre…

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Geoff Norcott Occasionally Sells Out

14 Aug 20133 stars

Friendly verve and wit for the openly Tory comic

Now this isn’t something you see on a comedy stage every day. As a Christian and a Tory (albeit one with vague doubts about his twin faiths), Norcott is quite an anomaly within the British stand-up circuit. When he admits to being on David Cameron’s…

Sean Hughes - Penguins

14 Aug 20133 stars

A new look and a pleasing youthful effervescence from the London-Irish comic

It’s over 20 years since Sean Hughes became the then-youngest winner of the Perrier Award, and it would probably be fair to say that for a while he may have fallen out of love with stand-up. But these days, the London-Irish comic bounds around with a…

Tumi Morake in Herstory

14 Aug 20132 stars

Tame and botched gig of weakly observed one-liners and considered jokes

It’s easy to see why Tumi Morake has been billed as the Queen of South African comedy. Her nifty blend of political reflection and racy asides can make this new show a completely watchable and well-spent hour of standup, but certain patches of suspect…

Mark Smith: The Most Astonishing Name In Comedy

14 Aug 20133 stars

A pleasant exploration of the comic's inability to truly grow up

An act playing to just six people is all too common an occurrence at the Fringe. Even worse when at least one of them is a critic. But Smith is admirably upbeat about it, which has the immediate effect of putting us at our ease. He high-fives each one…

Manos Kanellos: Greekonomics

14 Aug 20132 stars

A Greek comic to introduce us to Greece's recent financial decline

Who better to take a comedic look at the Greek economy's woes than a Greek comic? Manos Kanellos combines his knowledge of Greek culture, contemporary and ancient, and European politics with the aim of gently educating folks about the situation and…